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Colorado to Downsize PARCC Testing

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Colorado has decided to stop giving the entire PARCC assessment.

The state announced Wednesday that it will award a contract for English and math tests to Pearson. The big testing company already administers Colorado's science and social studies tests. And it administered the PARCC English/language arts and math tests in Colorado, the same way it has in other PARCC states.

But the state legislature passed a law last year mandating less testing time and a quicker turnaround for test results. So the state board asked the Colorado department of education to solicit proposals for a new test, said education department spokeswoman Dana Smith.

The test given in the spring of 2018 will be a shorter version of the PARCC exam, Smith said. Pearson will work with Colorado teachers to develop test questions. By the spring of 2019, the test will include some PARCC questions, and some items created by teachers, Smith said.

Colorado already dropped PARCC at the high school level, choosing instead to use the SAT as its high school test. 

When Education Week published its latest annual survey of states' testing plans in February, Colorado reported that it would administer PARCC in grades 3-9, the PSAT in grade 10, and the SAT in grade 11. Including Colorado, five states and the District of Columbia said they'd give the PARCC test in 2017.

Louisiana and Massachusetts already blend PARCC items with their own questions; Michigan blends Smarter Balanced items with questions its teachers create.

Facing steady loss in membership, PARCC reworked its business strategy in November 2015 to allow states to buy portions of the test instead of having to commit to using the entire thing.

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